Stab Magazine | Now That The Cyclone's Settled, Do Stepoffs Really Count?
385 Views

Now That The Cyclone’s Settled, Do Stepoffs Really Count?

Of barrels and motors and man. 

style // Mar 5, 2019
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Did you know that a cyclone swell recently collided with Australia’s Gold Coast?

You may have read that a poor fella died swimming. Or that Jack Freestone was, by most accounts, the swell’s MVP. Or that formerly iconic San Diego B-Grade (C+?) professional surfer Scotty Hammonds is now one of your favorite documenters. Or that Jet Ski drivers are being fined by the Gold Coast Shire’s Royal Constable for being Jet Ski drivers.

That last bit incited some debate. Was everybody respecting etiquette? Are there too many unskilled Jet Ski cowboys in this big lonely world? Is it even legal for them to be out there? It warms my heart to see my anonymous brothers and sisters in the comment section ideologically jostling over what’s best for our beloved pastime and occasionally erupting into irrational tirades that take sharp, personal angles and could probably be traced by a Freudian line back some form of sexual frustration. However, a significant topic was left off the docket.

Perhaps the most important: Does step offs still count? Or should we view them with the same amused scorn as we would a whip at air?

Let’s get some facts straight.

You don’t need a good driver to succeed at step offs — you need a really fucking good driver. A really fucking good driver has an understanding of both the ocean and the machine so deep that it all becomes intuitive. The equation isn’t as simple motor = tube.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/s5L6xzIsESw

Beyond that, a ski isn’t going to give you the extra pump you need to evade a foamball or draw you a path to the light at the end of that tunnel. It won’t take your tube riding from Scotty Hammonds to Nathan Florence overnight. Once you’re in, it’s surfing. Fun, cruel, frustrating, ecstatic, sometimes impossible surfing. If a cheap, yet incredibly expensive, barrel is what you’re after, there’s a certain ranch in butt-fuck California I could recommend.

A proper step off requires an excess of skill. But a proper step off is still cheating.

It eliminates two of the most important aspects of surfing waves of consequence — especially in places where step offs are most common, like Kirra, Mainland Mexico, France, etc. Those two things are being in the right place and getting under the lip.

Being in the right place doesn’t have all that much to do with how well you can manuever a surfboard once your feet hit the deck, but it still matters. It’s still surfing.

Not having to make the drop, though — that’s what really makes it cheating. In the best step off clips you see, the surfer is always good enough to have been easily capable of paddling in.

(This Bruce Iron step-off at Pipe is still a thing of relaxed beauty)

But it’s not that they could have. It’s that they didn’t.

While I would never compare step offs to prostitution, they are similar from a user’s perspective. If you bought your way in instead of making it happen on your own, it doesn’t really count.

The truth about step offs is that, when done right, they are incredibly fun, they get you way more waves, they are the ideal option for a lot of scenarios and they do not do anything for you once you’re under that lip.

And while fun to watch and ride, they don’t fully count.

Just like hookers.

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

What’s Happening To Orange County’s Sand, And Is It Worsening The Waves At Lowers?

Read this to upgrade your understanding of your local beach break and coastal environment.

Dec 5, 2022

Here Are The 15 People Who Qualified For The 2023 CT

After seven events and much groveling, 10 men and 5 women will officially be CT…

Dec 3, 2022

An Ode To Aussie Chick Pros From The Nineties 

A celebration of stoicism, resilience, grit, core lordship, and unconditional love.

Dec 3, 2022

Update: John John Flushes Everyone Down The Haleiwa Toilet Bowl

And the CT qualifications for 2023 are set.

Dec 3, 2022

3:53

Riaru Ito Is Cooler Than His Cucumber Garden

Meet our passion pick for the Vans Pipe Masters.

Dec 2, 2022

5 New Surfers Confirmed For The Vans Pipe Masters

Who's out, who's in?

Dec 2, 2022

Unlocked: Kael Walsh, Rolo Montes, And Al Cleland Jr In ‘Saturn’

Quik’s new 20-minute surf film is so good you’ll want to burn a DVD of…

Dec 2, 2022

How Surfers Get Paid, Episode 4

The energy drinks are here. They’ve got millions of dollars, and they want your head.

Dec 2, 2022

‘Saturn’ Orbits Into Southern California

Quiksilver's newest film made landfall in Encinitas, and we were there to document the occasion.

Dec 1, 2022

The Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Returns In 2023

Can anyone beat John Florence and Carissa Moore in a three-week window?

Dec 1, 2022

What Will Airs Look Like In 10 Years?

The final installment of our editorial exploration into the nuances of airborne surfing.

Dec 1, 2022

3:31

Can A South African Cavern Queen With No Pipeline Experience Do Well At The Vans Pipe Masters?

Sophie Bell will have a steep learning curve in Hawaii.

Nov 30, 2022

After Years Of Tragic Shark Attacks, Surf Competition Returns To Reunion Island — And A CT Event Could Follow

"We compete at J-Bay and Margarets where there's the same problem." -Johanne Defay

Nov 30, 2022

24:32

Sharing Tubes And Hummus In The Middle East’s Surfing Jewel: Israel

No Contest does Tel Aviv!

Nov 29, 2022

4:18

Joao Chianca Wants A Pipeline Rematch With JJF

And ain't afraid to ride more foam to do it in the Vans Pipe Masters.

Nov 29, 2022

An Unorthodox Marriage Of Science And Surf

Cliff Kapono and The Mega Lab are changing stereotypes on all fronts.

Nov 28, 2022

5:07

Harry Bryant Dumps Crutches, Visualizes Pipeline Pits After Snapping Leg

“For once in my life, I’m taking something a bit more serious."

Nov 27, 2022

What If You Bought This Sumatran Surf Camp For $690k?

Making a blue print out of surfing's most recurring day dream.

Nov 27, 2022
Advertisement